Baguio Cathedral: place of worship, refuge

Baguio Cathedral

One of the more durable 20th century structures in the Philippine summer capital, the Baguio Cathedral survived the carpet bombings by Allied Forces in 1945 and the killer earthquake of 1990.

This church is the very first in the world dedicated to Our Lady of Atonement, according to the Archdiocese of Baguio, citing an entry in the February 1939 issue of a Catholic publication named “The Lamp.”

Baguio Cathedral
The Baguio Cathedral survived the carpet bombings by Allied Forces in 1945 and the killer earthquake of 1990. (Photo by Max Limpag)

With its pink color and Gothic-influenced twin spires and rose windows that many people copy in their houses, still this cathedral is a popular tourist attraction in Baguio City.

This church of Baguio is one of a few edifices of worship not built by the Spaniards. Rather, Congregatio Immaculati Cordis Mariae (CICM) missionaries who arrived in Baguio from Belgium in 1907 worked towards the Baguio Cathedral’s construction by appealing for donations from local and international donors.

Constructed in phases

About 25 Igorot carpenters under the supervision of Fr. Florimund Carlu, first rector (1913-1927) of the Baguio mission, helped complete the structure in 1924 sans its spiral towers. They were assisted by architect and engineer priest Rev. Fr. Leo Vendelmans as well Fr. Adolph Cansse.

Work on the church happened in phases, beginning in 1920 and ending in 1936 when it was finally consecrated.

People sought refuge in the Baguio Cathedral when the city was bombed by Americans in 1945 to drive out invading Japanese forces.

It was damaged during the July 16, 1990 earthquake that reduced Baguio to rubble and had to undergo repairs.

Location: Stands on a hill originally named “Kampo” by the native Ibalois but renamed Mount Mary by the CICM missionaries. It is easily accessible from Session Road, one of Baguio City’s main thoroughfares.

Nearby attractions: Within walking distance are Session Road, Abanao Market, and Burnham Park.


Get a guide to Baguio City in your phone or tablet by downloading our free Baguio Guide from the Google Play Store or Windows Phone Store. The app is a comprehensive guide to the Philippines’ summer capital, listing things to do and places to stay or go to. It also contains a portable directory of important contact numbers and DOT-accredited establishments.

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